SW Oregon Fishing Report November 22nd, 2018

From ODF&W

At Arizona Pond, rainbow trout stocked this week and holdover trophies from earlier this year will enjoy the fresh water from this season’s first major rainstorm. Youth anglers fishing this pond are allowed to keep five trout per day; one of which can be over 20 inches. Oregon State Parks manages Arizona Pond for youth fishing ages 17 and under.

Bradley Lake was stocked with fall trophy trout in mid-October. Anglers trolling a wedding ring or other type of spinner are still having luck catching trout.

No bank fishing without permission from land owners, but an ODFW boat ramp allows anyone to fish from a boat. Anglers can also fish from the new dock at the boat ramp. Located about three miles south of Bandon and is one mile west of Hwy 101.

Butterfield Lake was stocked with 1,300 fall trophy trout the week of Oct. 15. Anglers have had success catching trout with spinners or by fishing PowerBait.

Excess hatchery steelhead juveniles were also stocked in Butterfield Lake this past month. Most of these fish are under 8-inches long but should grow to a legal-size fish by next spring.

Chinook salmon and steelhead season are open from the river mouth of the Chetco to Nook Creek through Dec. 31. Fishing is restricted to fly-fishing or bobber fishing with one a single point hook from river mile 2.2 through to Nook Creek until we receive sustained fall rain. We’ll announce when this temporary bobber rule is lifted. These anti-snagging gear restrictions are described on page 18 of Oregon’s 2018 Sport Fishing Regulation Book. A visual and status update on the river bar crossing can be found here at the NOAA bar camera webpage.

Anglers are encouraged to drop hatchery fish snouts in the kiosk at the Port of Brookings cleaning station (instructions on how to remove and package snouts are available at the kiosk). Please see the southwest zone regulation exceptions in the regulations book for more details.

From the Coos River Basin, salmon fishing continues to be slow. Steelhead anglers are getting their gear ready but need a few good rains before steelhead will show up in any decent numbers.

Recreational fishing for bottomfish is open in the ocean along with bays and estuaries. The daily bag limit for marine fish is back to 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is no longer allowed for the rest of the year. Fishing for rockfish and greenling continue to be good inside Coos Bay near the north jetty and other submerged rock structures.

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good on the mainstem Coquille River, South Fork Coquille and Middle Fork Coquille rivers. But smallmouth bass will start moving into deeper water for the winter as the water temperatures cool down.

On the Elk River chinook salmon and steelhead season is open from the river mouth to Bald Mountain Creek through Dec. 31. At this time, anglers will likely have the most success at the mouth of the river accessed publicly by Cape Blanco State Park. However, with the south coast’s first major rain event for the season, Chinook will start to move upstream and anglers may want to consider shifting their fishing methods.

Upper Empire Lake was stocked with over 3,000 fall trophy trout the week of Oct. 15. The lake has had a lot of fishing pressure and the success rate has started to slow down.

Water levels are steadily rising at Fish Lake. The resort ramp is now usable for small boats, but anglers must call ahead to check on conditions and open hours at the resort. A drift boat was recently seen launching. The USFS ramp offers launching point for small boats, individual watercraft and inflatables, however, be advised of stumps.

Anglers have reported good success near the resort casting Kastmasters toward shore. Good-size rainbow have been caught in recent weeks.

Tiger trout, Chinook salmon, brook trout, and larger rainbow trout are available. Larger tiger trout can be targeted by casting lures or streamer flies around structure, but remember that tiger trout must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers are encouraged to report their catch of tiger trout to fish district staff at 541-826-8774.

The season for Chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead is open through Dec. 31 on Floars Creek / New River. Chinook retention is open from the mouth to the bridge at mile post 1.5 on Floras Creek. The fishery typically turns on when the bar opens up after fall rainfall. Please note: there is an aggregate bag limit rule for Floras/New, Sixes, and Elk Rivers for wild Chinook.

Galesville Reservoir has been stocked several times this year and should have lots of trout from previous stockings. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015. The reservoir is very low and fish should be kegged up.

Garrison Lake was stocked for the last time this year with a little over 800 trout the week of Oct. 29. Anglers slow trolling spinners, flies, or wedding ring spinners tipped with a worm all did well. Five trout per day/2 daily limits in possession; 8-inch minimum; only one trout over 20-inches long may be taken per day. Bank anglers can find access at the 12th street or Pinehurst boat ramps and off Paradise Point Road. Bass have been hanging around riprap areas in shallower portions of the lake. The lake can be very windy. Anglers will want to check the weather before heading out.

Fishing for fall trout in Hemlock and Lake in the Woods can be great. Spinners or “plunking” with worms and/or PowerBait can be effective methods for fishing these lakes. Some anglers are having success with flies.

Loon Lake should have plenty of trout from recent stockings including trophy-size trout. Fishing for crappie, bluegill and bass has been decent. Slower presentations such as jigging can be a good technique.

Lost Creek will be the primary draw for trout anglers in the Rogue watershed now through early spring. Large rainbow have been stocked to complement fish remaining as holdovers from earlier releases. Water levels are lower than usual right now, so trailered boats can only launch at the Takelma boat ramp currently. Surface temperature is 51 degrees Fahrenheit.

Last weekend the action was sporadic but anglers were catching fish up to 16-inches long. Red wedding rings fished with a worm behind a dodger or flashers produced fish, as did PowerBait fished deep while trolling.

With recent rainfall, the Rogue should rise significantly around Thanksgiving, start dropping over the weekend and then rise again next week. This will encourage fish to move upriver.

Anglers may want to consider plunking during these higher water events. As the water drops, anglers should switch to side drifting with eggs or tossing spinners. There was an exceptional number of half-pounders and steelhead running up river all fall. This push of fish offers an oddly timed fishing opportunity on the Rogue.

Coho salmon are also still moving up river. Anglers have reported catch in the lower sections of the Rogue. Only hatchery coho may be kept as part of an angler’s adult and jack salmon daily bag limit.

On the middle river fishing for summer steelhead should be good. The river remains open for hatchery summer steelhead, and the 2018 runs appears to be very strong. Anglers are catching summer steelhead on plugs fished from a drift boat or drifting night crawlers/roe or yarn balls with scent. Wild steelhead must be released unharmed. Fishing for summer steelhead below Hog Creek boat ramp to Graves Creek has been good, however only experienced driftboaters should be floating these floats with the low water this fall. There is great bank access throughout this reach though. Gold Hill to Rogue River, Baker to Lathrop or Ferry Hole, or Griffin Park to Robertson Bridge are all good floats this time of year. Remember, in the Fishers Ferry to Shady Cove reach, anglers can still only fish artificial flys and lures, no bait.

The Rogue River is also open for trout fishing. Only hatchery Rainbow Trout may be retained. All wild rainbow and Cutthroat Trout must be released. There are half-pounder steelhead present from near Robertson bridge downstream throughout the Rogue Canyon. There are many BLM public access points to fish for these from Hog Creek to Graves Creek.

The upper Rogue water levels don’t typically fluctuate dramatically upstream of Elk Creek, but the rain forecasted for later this week should get fish moving.

Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures between the Shady Cove boat ramp and Fishers Ferry. Bait is allowed between Shady Cove and Cole Rivers Hatchery. There is good public access at McGregor Park, Casey Park, and Rogue Elk where bait is allowed. Most floats in the upper Rogue have been from the Hatchery or Rogue Elk downstream to Shady Cove. Dodge Bridge to Touvelle is an excellent float but anglers should be aware that they will encounter Rattlesnake Rapids. If you are not ready for Rattlesnake, many floats will start at the ODFW Modoc Access Site and float to Touvelle or Fishers Ferry.

Above Lost Creek Reservoir anglers will still find trout at most sites for the next several weeks but fishing has slowed with very cold water. The Prospect gauge is reading 39 degrees.

Anglers can cast flies or smaller lures like a Panther Martin or rooster tail. Often tipping the lure with bait helps to produce. In slower holes, fishing straight bait such as nightcrawler, Pautzke eggs, even PowerBait will produce.

On the Sixes chinook salmon and Steelhead season is open from the river mouth to Edson Creek through Dec. 31. With current rainfall and more in the forecast, fish will begin to move upriver. Anglers can target steelhead up to the South Fork of the Sixes River.

Fall Chinook fishing opened on the Smith River Aug. 1 from the mouth to the head-of-tide at Spencer Creek and in the North Fork Smith River from the mouth to the head-of-tide at Johnson Creek. Recent rain should push the remaining fish upstream to spawn. Steelhead fishing will open on Smith River above head-of-tide at Spencer Creek Dec. 1.

Trout fishing is starting to pick up again on Tenmile Lakes. Trout anglers are catching rainbow trout and cutthroat trout, some measuring nearly 20-inches long.

The wild coho fishery opened in Tenmile Lakes on Oct. 1 and will run through December 31. Salmon anglers may harvest 1 wild coho per day with up to 5 wild coho for the year in aggregate with Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes. A couple of wild coho were caught in the lake earlier this month. Fishing should improve when we get more rain.

Fishing for largemouth bass has been good. Bass are hitting plastics and jigs fished in deeper water.

Yellow perch fishing is very good this fall with lots of fish in the 9- to 12-inch range. Look for yellow perch in the deeper mudflats in the lake. Anglers are using small jigs or a worm on a hook fished near the bottom.

On the mainstem of the Umpqua fall Chinook fishing typically slows in the lower river this time of year and anglers usually switch to coho. Coho and Chinook should move into spawning habitat after recent rains, but there may be a few left in the upper river. Please also follow good catch-and-release techniques of unclipped coho.

There may be a few winter steelhead that start poking their way into the river in early December

Smallmouth bass fishing should be starting to slow as the water temperatures dip.

Lingcod and other bottomfishing in the ocean was going well, but with winter weather on its way crossing the bar may be difficult.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed for the remainder of the year.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips.

Salmon fishing from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain closed Oct. 31. The Elk River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Season continues through Nov. 30.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

The coastal lakes coho fisheries are hurting. Tahkenitch Lake is the only one having anything resembling a normal season. The dam on the Siltcoos River outlet has only been open for short time periods due to low stream flows and salmon fishing has been poor. Coho fishing at Tenmile Lakes has been very poor as the salmon are having a very difficult time getting into and then ascending Tenmile Creek.

Yellow perch and rainbow trout are available to anglers on all three lakes although Tenmile is the only one of the three lakes having much fishing pressure directed at these fish species. On a down note, second-rod licenses are not valid during the salmon seasons (Oct. 1st – Dec. 31st) on these lakes.

We are definitely in a drought situation and unless it changes soon – there will be very little successful spawning in the tributaries of these lakes this year.

The “Band-Aid” approach toward correcting fishery-related problems can only go so far. It does little good to flood the ocean with hatchery smolts when there isn’t enough forage to allow for rapid growth – a major factor in survival rates.

As for crabs and clams, toxin-related closures are now an every-year occurrence – Winchester Bay was the only port on the entire Oregon coast that didn’t have a crabbing closure last year. Fish and shellfish dieoffs due to oxygen-free zones in both marine and freshwater locations is an every year occurrence. Dealing with pollution-related issues in a state with a growing population is very difficult – but Oregon could do a much better job than they have done during the last few years.